Ezinne and Chidera Okoro join the podcast with the indoor track and field season near to talk about their journey to Wichita State, the team atmosphere with the Shockers and how the high school track meet at Cessna Stadium introduced them to the university. We discuss the difficulty of learning the triple jump and learn which sister uses an agenda to stay organized and which relies on her memory. They describe the joy of the feeling when everything goes right during a jump and update on us what they’re reading and watching.
Episode description: In this episode of Wichita State University’s “Forward Together” podcast, President Rick Muma talks with Kevin Saal, who was hired as director of athletics at Wichita State University in June. Kevin is leading Shocker athletics during a time of significant change – name, image and likeness, the transfer portal and conference realignment top the list.
The “Forward Together” podcast celebrates the vision and mission of Wichita State University. In each episode, President Rick Muma will talk with guests from throughout Shocker Nation to highlight the people and priorities that guide WSU on its road to becoming an essential educational, cultural, and economic driver for Kansas and the greater good.
Shocker cross country gets rolling on Sept. 3 (Saturday) with the JK Gold Classic. Ben Flowers and Clayton Duchatschek discuss the expectations for the men’s team, favorite running paths in and around Wichita and their training routines for the summer. Flowers talks about how his teammates and coaches helped him work through an injury that cost him almost two years of running. Duchatschek takes us back to last spring’s clinching points in the American Athletic Conference outdoor track championships. We wrap up by choosing a favorite book about running.
Cessna Stadium is the site for the American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship this weekend and we talk to Wichita State sprinter Paula Garcia and multi-athlete Maria Romero about home-court advantage and the best events to watch. We also talk about the pipeline from Spain to Wichita that has produced several standouts, the differences between athletics in Europe and the United States and their advice for young athletes. We discuss their majors, Romero’s participation in the Widener Global Leaders Program and Garcia’s book recommendations.
Hammer thrower Michael Bryan, a two-time NCAA All-American, joins the podcast to talk about his path from lightly recruited high school football player to Wichita State record-holder. He discusses how his love for the hammer grew into a research project and why a school-closing snow storm won’t keep him from throwing outdoors in January. He breaks down the “jar of pennies” philosophy that guides his school and training and the music of Sam Cooke helps him during practices.
Wichita State competes in the American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships this weekend in Birmingham, Ala. John Wise, assistant director of track and field and cross country, talks about Wichita State’s Destiny Masters (pentathlon), Adam Moore (mile), Michael Bryan (weight throw) and Amanda Kakoulias (shot put) and how they stack up in the conference meet. We discuss the best opportunities for the Shockers to grab unexpected points and the quirky habits of throwers. Also on the schedule is a look at how the American’s changing membership affects track and field recruiting and a look at Wise’s YouTube series “Travel with a Wise Guy,” highlighted by a discussion of Joyland’s place in Wichita pop culture.
Jed Helker, fresh off his 8-kilometer win in the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational in Nebraska, talks about how he knocked 40 seconds off his personal best and why there is much optimism for the men’s cross country team. He discusses how the atmosphere at Wichita State attracted him as a recruit out of Oklahoma and coach Kirk Hunter’s blend of caring for his runners and pushing them. We also discuss how Oklahoma coach Hannah Fields, his older sister, influenced his running career and his motivations for considering coaching as a career.
John Wise is the assistant director of track and field and cross country. He joins the podcast to preview the Wichita State Open, which starts at noon Saturday at Cessna Stadium.
Wise discusses the rising optimism for the outdoor season after the indoor’s uncertainty. He talks about hurdler Joseph Holthusen’s path from lightly recruited high schooler to indoor All-American and Shockers off to a great start to the outdoor season, such as hammer thrower Michael Bryan and the women’s steeplechase crew.
We wrap up by talking about how movies theaters may or may not survive the pandemic, which movie might lure him back to the theater and his “Travel With a Wise Guy” video series on YouTube. Joyland alert!
Javelin thrower Taran Taylor and John Wise, assistant director of track and field, discuss workouts during a pandemic and prospects for an indoor season. Taylor, from Ark City, details his rise as a standout thrower, his return from elbow surgery and how his engineering major might relate to the javelin.
Cassie Craig was one of the best pole vaulters to ever come out of Wichita State and now is living in Los Angeles where she is a stunt woman, actress, singer and Covid-19 mask maker. She became nationally known for being on American Ninja Warrior for 4 years. We catch up with her about what she’s doing now and what it’s like to do stunts for a living. This was a fascinating conversation – fun stuff! (0:00) Intro. (0:45) Cassie tells us what she’s doing now and what it’s like to live in Los Angeles during the Coronavirus shutdown. (6:30) We talk about high school track, her all-around athletic ability and her experience at Wichita State. (12:30) Cassie becomes an American Ninja Warrior. (17:45) Cassie moves to L.A. and creates a new career as a stunt woman on a TV show. (25:13) What does the multi-talented Cassie want to do with her life?